Trees are pretty ordinary. We see them every day, don’t really pay attention to them, and are just thankful that they’re around to provide shade and oxygen for us. If you ask me, there’s nothing too special about the way they come off aesthetically. If you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all…right?

Wrong! Welcome to the world of circus trees. These trees were artistically manipulated and turned into creations that you have to see to believe.

Circus trees were created and developed by Axel Erlandson (pictured). He carefully nurtured these trees to grow into incredible shapes.

Erlandson carefully grafted the trees around him to bend in ways that created something absolutely spectacular.

They were featured in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! column numerous times.

Even LIFE magazine did an exposé on his unique tree-grafting system in 1957.

Axel Erlandson died in 1964 due to heart failure, but he effectively sold off his secret before he passed away. That means you can still see these trees today!

About 25 of Erlandson’s original trees are still alive.

You can see them for yourself at Gilroy Gardens in Gilroy, California, during spring and summer months.

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(via Gilroy Gardens)

These fantastic trees provide us with a great education on how amazing nature can be. They’re quite a sight to behold, so plan your trip to Gilroy today and see them for yourself!

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